Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and SNS presidential candidate has urged citizens to vote on April 2 “according to their conscience.”

Speaking for TV Pink late on Monday, Vucic reacted strongly to criticism of his decision to invite former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to Belgrade on March 24.

“I brought a man who is the greatest reformer and who spoke only about that , but both I, and others spoke about the (NATO) aggression of 1999 from the stage in front of that same Schroeder, as that day was being marked,” said Vucic.

Vucic recalled that he was the one who “introduced that day (anniversary of the beginning of NATO’s bombing) to the list of important dates” that had previously been marked “with hardly a flower and almost secretly” – and that “while some called it a bombing, he called it an aggression.”

“Let them not lecture me about patriotism now. As for the criticism that I was in the US at a forum of the Clinton Foundation (ahead of the US election) I say that I went there to defend the interests of Serbia, because they are defended not just when it’s easy, but on the contrary when it’s difficult to do,” he said.

“We do all we can,” Vucic continued – “we cooperate with the EU, with Russia, with China, with everyone where we have our own interests and everyone knows that we are a reliable partner.”

According to him, China saved the Zelezara Smederevo steelworks, “and now people in Smederevo work, and not only in Zelezara, but also in a Finnish factory that employs 1,600 people and will employ another 1,000.”

According to him, “everyone has the right to express their opinion on whether they are in favor of NATO or not” – but he believes that military neutrality should be “jealously guarded.”
“I have presented this position both in Brussels, and also in Moscow today (Monday)… Our policy is for the Serbian Army to be strong,” Vucic said, reiterating that “we want good cooperation with everyone, but we jealously guard our military neutrality.”

At the end of his appearance on TV Pink Vucic called on voters to turn out and vote and said he did not know if the April 2 elections would have a second round, but that, if elected, he can “guarantee” that he will perform his duties “responsibly.”